Billionaire's Childhood Love

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LVI. Short Stack

Joshua’s POV:

Dad exhales and pats my shoulder, “Thanks.” He inches in closer for a hug. Dad isn’t the type to give out embracement, but when situations get rough - particularly when it comes to mom - he knows he needs one.

If I said that things in the morning would get better, I would be lying. Everyone was in their own world, not bothering anyone else. Not a single breath was expelled in the air. Everyone was so focused on their food as if their life was on the line. In a sense, it is.

Dad was on one side of the dinner table.

Mom was on the other, far away from him.

They usually sit beside each other.

He would glance at her once in a while.

She ignores him while feeding Miles.

Even Jada doesn’t feel comfortable enough to sit down and eat with everyone.

Lola was the first to arrive, probably due to Jada and the first to finish. She hasn’t spoken a single word, which is rare. She is the loudest child in the room. “May I be excused?” This situation is much more severe than I expect. Lola actually requests to leave the table.

Mom wipes off the food from Miles’s face. “Lola. You know you never have to ask me for permission to do anything.” Mom smiles, but with her ghostly like features, it made everyone shiver.

Lola swallows, “Thank you.” She smiles lightly and escapes the room.

“If Lola is done. I am too. I do not want her to go to school by herself. I will accompany her. Is that acceptable, mommy?” Caleb smiles at mom. He grabs his plate and leaves the room. He never cleans his plate.

“I shall follow my brother.” Theodore grabs his plate and leaves. He stops and looks at mom. “And I will wash my hands for more than twenty seconds.” He never washes his hands.

“Me too,” Mike whispers. He pushes out his chair with the least amount of sound. He kisses mom’s cheek. “I love you, mom. A lot.” He left the room.

“I wuv you too.” Calvin bats his lashes and grabs his plate. Which five years old talks like that? One who doesn’t want to get in trouble.

Miles smiles, “I love you the most!” He smacks mom’s face with his wet lips. One of the boys probably told him to do that.

Mom smiles lightly, and the tension in the room eases up.

It was only momentary.

I never met her.

My dear potential half-sister - until now.

The door spread open, and the tension resumed - probably worse now. A young girl steps inside the room seems to be around her twenties, early or mid, I can’t tell. She tucks her brown hair back to reveal a shade of blues. She smiles, and a single dimple made its appearance. “Good morning.”

Silence.

I look at dad.

He stares at his plate.

I look at Jada.

She stares at the wall.

I look at Miles.

He was so focused on his broccoli. Even he feels the tension.

I look at mom.

She looks at the young girl and smiles, “Good morning, Juliette.”

Juliette crunches her hands together. “Is it okay if I have breakfast with you all?”

“Sure.” Only mom can respond to her. No one dares to make any decision. One wrong word, and you’re on her bad side.

Juliette bit her lip and settled down. Jada went into the kitchen and brought her a plate. “Thank you, Jada.”

Jada smiled slightly but didn’t respond. She went back to her position and became one with the wall.

Silently, the sounds of forks and knives scattered the room. Juliette’s eyes met mine, and she smiled warmly. Please, don’t smile at me. I cannot acknowledge you as a sibling.

“You must be Joshua.”

“Hello,” I muttered.

“I’ve heard alot about you,” she said.

I doubt it with all the chaos she brought. I doubt anyone has any time to sit down and tell her a story about me. “Hopefully good things.”

“I’ve heard good things about all of the Greysons.” She looks at mom. “Particularly you, Mrs.Greyson.” I give her props. The girl knows how to kiss up to the right person.

“Thanks.” Mom wasn’t having it though.

“I read all about the fundraisers you arranged throughout the years. It’s very inspiring. You’re not only beautiful but kind too.”

I want to clap so badly. Her kissing ass skill is at an all-time high. Not as good as the people I met at one of the parties we attended, but pretty damn good.

“Thanks.” Mom really wasn’t in the mood.

Juliette’s eyes drop to her plate. Mom cleans her lips and looks at me. Please, look at anyone but me. “Josh. Do you mind if I speak with you? Privately?” I nearly choked on my bread. I know what she wants to talk about. She wants to talk about leaving.

I glanced at dad, who stared at mom. Quickly, I stuffed the bread inside my mouth. “Sorry, mom. I’m still eating,” I said. I’m trying to buy time to figure out what to say to keep her from leaving.

Mom smiles, “Alright. Take your time.” She exhales, “I told you not to speak with your mouth full.” She stood up, her large stomach leaned against the table, and wiped the crumbs off of my mouth.

I caught Juliette staring at us, but she quickly cast her gaze back to the plate. She sucks in her cheeks and silently releases a breath from her nostrils.

One excuse after another.

I avoided talking to mom.

Only to run into the core of all troubles.

I turn around.

“Josh?” Juliette calls for me. I wish I could pretend I didn’t hear it, but I can’t. Mostly because we’re the only two in the hallway.

I turn around, “Yes?”

Steadily, she walks towards me. When she was in front of me, I noticed it. How much she looks like dad. A female version of dad. Holy fuck. “I know I caused a lot of trouble around here.”

Shit. Yeah, you did.

“But, I just wanted to know who my father is.” She exhales softly. Here comes the sad story. “Mom never told me who dad is, but she always said he is a good guy.”

Highly doubt that. Back then, dad is more of the type to hit it and quit it.

“And they love each other.”

I almost threw up my breakfast. I didn’t. I kept it all inside and stared at her with an emotionless face.

The most surprising part of this whole fiasco would be that dad loves another woman before mom.

We all, at one point, assumed he had another child outside of the family.

“My dad and your mom...love each other?” I need a clarification. I wonder if I should explain to her that having sex and being in love are not the same.

She nods, “Mom always said that dad loves her, and one day, he will come back for us.”

I can see that work out really well.

That does not sound like my dad at all.

Which man is she speaking of?

“And your mom said that my dad...loves her. He actually said - love.” I really need to clarify it.

She nods, “I love you would be the exact words.”

I held up a finger and marched towards dad’s office. He decided to work at home for the rest of the month unless something important comes up. I slam the door open without knocking. He looked up from his laptop and immediately stood up. “Did your mom-”

“You told another woman, besides mom, that you love her?” I screamed.

His brows furrowed together, “What?”

“Juliette just told me that you told her that you love her mom and that one day, you will come back for her! What the fu-”

The door creaks behind me.

I turn around.

Oh no.

I think I poured gasoline into the fire.

Mom whimpered lowly and ran away.

“Oh. No. No! Short Stack!” Dad rarely calls mom by the nickname he gave her when they were younger. I guess it got cringey with age. Not anymore.

He passed me like the wind and rushed after her.

Then, I heard a slap.

I peek out of the office.

“You told me that I was the only woman you ever love!” Mom’s voice could definitely be heard throughout the mansion.

“You are the only woman I ever love!”

“Oh, sure, I am.” I can sense the mockery a mile away. “Why are you still here? Don’t you have a future wife to pick up?” She stomps down the hall.

Dad looks at me. The handprint on his face was apparent. He lifts both hands in the air and mouthed: “Why?” As in, you’re supposed to help me patch things up with your mom, not make more problems.

I cringe slightly, “Sorry. I should’ve closed the door.”

Immediately, he chased after her. “Short Stack!”

After a few minutes, I can hear stuff being thrown and mom’s angry voice.

Times like this, I wish I went to school near here.

And to make matters worse, someone who’s much more troublesome showed up.

I stood at the front door and stared at the tall redhead woman. She removes the sunglasses—red hair. Green eyes. Oh fuck. She smiles, “Hello, I’m Juliette’s mom.”

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